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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Used Trailer Rust - A Hot Dip Into Galvanizing

In all the years of sailing in fresh waters of Nebraska and South Dakota the subject of used trailer rust never reached consciousness of this sailor.   After all, salt is for icy streets.  It has nothing to do with water, unless your cabin fever is so severe that you take your boat and trailer for a drive in snow country. 

The Magic Pearl

Upon relocation to a hot place with lots of salt in the water we did not take much notice that our newly acquired Sea Pearl had a hot dipped galvanized trailer strapped under it.  Years upon years passed before the capt noticed the port side trailer wheel leaning inboard at an alarming angle as he backed the trailer into the driveway.    

 “This sort of thing happens a lot in Florida” My trailer parts guy declared.  “Just cover your new axle completely with axle grease and you’ll not have a problem again”.   As he wrote out the bill for the axle and the grease.  True to his word, we didn’t and we learned how difficult it is for no see ems to penetrate the axle grease that found its way to our extremities.   Winners all, we were.

Then Came the HideAway – A Trailer-Less Com Pac 23

As the rent on my little patch of salt water increased from $100 per month to just north of $230, it became economically clear the HideAway needed a home on the hard or worse -The Hook.  Of course she would hear nothing of this nonsense and held out for leaf springs and four, mind you, four, soft cushy wheels.  

It mattered not the least to her that a new trailer would cost, at minimum, the same as the HideAway not including the full sized pickup truck needed to tow said trailer.    Boats are like that you know.   Ahhh, but Florida is nautical place.  A trip to the local Marine Salvage yard was in order followed shortly by a similar journey to a local used truck emporium to find a Big Red Truck.  (Well, you know – Nebraska and all…)

A New Old Trailer

A substantial looking former power boat trailer was found, measured and priced to include an additional axle and a drum surge braking system to accommodate the capts dreams of far away and certainly exotic, if not romantic destinations.   (This from a transplanted Nebraska/South Dakota sailor living in Florida – The land of no winter to speak of).

A Problem Solved

In the passing years the HideAways followed the same ritual.  Launch, Sail, Recover and Wash.  In summer the washing included the crew.  In winter, not so much, however the motor and the trailer always had a good fresh water bath. 

Cast off all lines! SV HideAway

Then one hot summer’s day one of the trailer wheels refused to turn. The brake shoes had rusted to the drum!  Then the other brake equipped wheel got in the habit of making loud protest noises littering the parking lot with a trail of red every time it rolled.   Click here for the shocking video!

One of the holy fenders
 Added nuisances included the giving away of all staples holding the carpet on the bunks not to mention the appearance of the holy fenders.  How could a hot dipped galvanized part rust?  After all, wasn't that the purpose of the hot dip in the first place?

“I thought that hot dip galvanizing formed a bond between metal and stuff that stopped rust from forming” I stammered to my trailer parts guy.

“Well, this sort of thing happens a lot in Florida”

 he said.  “It’s a lot like lovers breaking up… You see, what happens is that any injury to the galvanized parts allows air and metal to mix it up with the salt… you see and…rust forms…. that breaks them apart….” His voice trailed off then continued.    “You have to repent……err…. Repaint… you know” his eyes glazed a bit just then “…to get the bond back you see….. Just a minute… I have to make a call….”  He said as I watched his back disappear into a maze of trailer parts.

Southward bound - Sailing HideAway
 So that’s why I spent a beautiful warm winter day on my back with an electric drill, the one with the wire disk on it, grinding my galvanizing off  when I should have been sailing on salty water to some exotic destination.

Don’t Let this happen to you!    Repaint my friend - often